Things That Matter

We Ranked The 11 Best Latin American Countries To Start A Business

Entrepreneurship is on the rise throughout the world. Changing economic landscapes everywhere and people wanting a more flexible lifestyle make this an attractive option. Are you among the many who have your eye toward starting your own business? You may have thought about opening one in the United States or in a large, well-known manufacturing country like Singapore. But, have you ever considered that Latin America might have exactly what you need to start your business? If you haven’t, you’re missing out. We took the guesswork out for you by ranking the 11 best Latin American countries to start a business.  Some of these may surprise you.

11. Guatemala

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Guatemala offers simplicity at its finest. Have you started a business in the United States or at least learned a bit about how businesses are run in the U.S.? If so, it won’t be much of a stretch to start a business in Guatemala.  Don’t like red tape? Lucky for you, there is an established legal framework in Guatemala.

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Rules are clearly defined and give benefits similar to those you would find in the U.S. with a Limited Liability Company (LLC). In Guatemala, they’re called Sociedades Anonimas (SAs). They are not only popular for defining your business and picking and using its name but also for getting your hands on property in Guatemala.

10. Dominican Republic

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Growth, growth, growth! The Dominican Republic has so much to offer, starting with its increasing economic stability due to its attractiveness to foreign investors. It ranks in the world’s top five for Free Zones. You might be thinking, “What makes the Dominican Republic a Free Zone and why should I care?” Well, a free zone has significantly fewer taxes and even offers a variety of exemptions for new businesses.

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Some might even call the Dominican Republic a “tax haven.” In the Dominican Republic, production and labor costs are low, there is easy access to transport and shipping and, as mentioned above, there are significant tax benefits.

9. El Salvador

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Low starting costs, easy currency and another bastion of free zones. What more could you want? In El Salvador, you only need about $100 USD, two shareholders, and a director to incorporate and set up shop.

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Like in the Dominican Republic, you can capitalize on El Salvador’s Free Zones. Who doesn’t want lower taxes?

8. Argentina

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Argentina has had quite the turnaround over the last few years. This is like your favorite underdog story. While Argentina had a major economic and political crisis in the early 2000s, changes to its country’s leadership and its trade processes have made it a great place to start a business. While not as cheap as starting a business in El Salvador, your pocketbook won’t feel too light in Argentina.

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You can start your business with around $300 USD That very small amount lets you reap great rewards. Just some of the rewards you get for your investment are a highly skilled labor force at low costs, minimal taxes due to the country’s free zones and a highly collaborative entrepreneurial spirit.

7. Brazil

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Brazil is an up-and-comer. It is already the sixth largest economy in the world and poised to become the fifth in the next couple of decades. Access to rich mineral resources including self-sufficiency in oil makes it a boon for investors. Innovation is the name of the game, along with smart partnerships. Brazil has partnered with the United States on five core themes: innovation and green technology, trade facilitation, business development, standards, and metrology, as well as intellectual property cooperation.

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Money talks and, here, like several other countries on this list, you pay less money in taxes and get great rewards. The country is also considered a low risk for investments. With fewer natural disasters, a low cost of living and s a well-diversified economy while boosting a stable democracy makes Brazil something extra special.

6. Colombia

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Tourism is where it’s at in Colombia. Colombia ranked No. 2 in places to visit in the New York Times article “52 Places to go in 2018,” along with attention in several other pieces on hot spot destinations. There are many opportunities to bask in the success of the tourism industry with your own business.

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You might consider investing as a tour operator or in running a luxury spa. It also benefits from strong ties to the United States.

5. Peru

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While most of the attention goes to Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico when it comes to starting a business, Peru won’t be left behind. It has one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and very low inflation.

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Commodity pricing is growing and going strong, especially in the mining industry. You won’t want to be left behind either, so consider Peru for your next business investment.

4. Mexico

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Who doesn’t love a short wait time? In Mexico, it only takes about eight days to get your business up and running. It also ranks among the top 30 percent of the world’s countries for regulatory performance. Making a bunch of legislative reforms means that there is an ever-increasing number of businesses, but also an ever-increasing opportunity to start one.

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Mexicans have a relatively easy time getting credit which means more opportunity for them to spend money with you.

3. Uruguay

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Small, but mighty, Uruguay is often overlooked when it comes to starting a business, primarily due to its size. That is a big mistake, though. Extreme poverty is very low, it has the largest middle-class of any Latin American country (about 60 percent).

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The infrastructure and education also make it a highly sought after place for investment.  The three major industries are agriculture, service, and industry.

2. Costa Rica

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Costa Rica is the land of “La Pura Vida.” Costa Rica is a pioneer in eco-tourism and is the only tropical country in the world to succeed in reversing deforestation. The country has no military. Invest in people and infrastructure instead of weapons? Seems like a good idea.

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If Costa Rica’s economic success on the world’s stage is any indication, it sure is. Access to universal healthcare and a stable region means there is an ever-growing retirement community flocking there as well. What an opportunity!

1. Chile

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Progressive Trade Deals and a low tax rate are certainly enticing. Moreover, Chile is ranked highly for the ease of doing business, But, it wasn’t always that way. There were some challenges that are being addressed. Moving to an online system (isn’t everybody?) means less red tape and a quicker turnaround. Who wants to have to bring all their records in a sealed envelope and wait in line? The country has also stood up for business, including small business.

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They have enacted reforms for stricter contract enforcement. Chile has worked hard to get to its number one spot. It’s enacted many reforms over the years with an eye toward an improved business climate. Chile’s lofty goals are creating jobs, becoming a more competitive economy and stimulating domestic investment.

It Could Be Time To Say Goodbye To Your Salsa Forever As Tomatoes And Chilies Are In Danger Of Going Extinct

Culture

It Could Be Time To Say Goodbye To Your Salsa Forever As Tomatoes And Chilies Are In Danger Of Going Extinct

Pixabay

Two of Latin America’s most important ingredients – staples of cuisines across the region – are in danger of possible extinction thanks to climate change. Tomatoes and chilies both make up a huge part of traditional recipes from Mexico to Brazil and Argentina to Cuba – and they’re close to disappearing from grocery stores everywhere.

We know that tomato and chili are two fundamental ingredients in Mexican cuisine. Due to the threats suffered by its main pollinator, the bumblebee, these basic ingredients could disappear forever.

Climate change is wreaking havoc on the planet. But one of the most at-risk species is the humble bumble bee. These often feared insects are a vital source of pollination for thousands of plant and flower species around the world – if they disappear so too do the species of plants that depend on them.

Pollinators are species of great importance for a healthy environment. They are responsible for the the diversity and health of various biomes. Across Latin America, the bumble bee is largely responsible for the pollination of modern agriculture and this could have a major impact on the production of tomatoes and chilis.

Unfortunately, bumblebees are currently threatened, resulting in the possible extinction of different vegetables, including tomatoes and chili.

But why does the tiny bumble bee matter at all?

The bumble bee belongs to the insect family Apidae, which includes hundeds of different species of bumblebees. In fact, the bumble bee can be found on every continent except Antarctica and plays an outsized role in agriculture. The insects are often larger than honey bees, come in black and white varieties and often feature white, yellow, or orange stripes. This genus belongs to the Apidae family that includes different species commonly known as bumblebees. They’re almost entirely covered by very silky hairs. An adult bumblebee reaches 20 millimeters or more and feeds primarily on nectar from flowering plants. A curious fact is that females have the ability to sting, while males do not.

Bumblebees are epic pollinators of the tomato and chili plantS. Together with different species, the bumblebee helps produce many staple foods that are part of healthy diets around the world. If these become extinct the eating habits of all Latinos would suffer drastic changes as several vegetables would disappear.

So why are bumblebees in danger?

The main threat of these insects is the pesticides used in modern agriculture. That is why it is necessary to avoid consuming food produced in this way. We can all help the bumblebee planting plants, protecting native species and especially not damaging their natural environment.

But climate change is also wreaking havoc on the breeding patters of bumblebees – leading to colony collapse. With fewer colonies there is less breeding and therefore fewer bees around the world to pollinate our global crops.

Can you imagine a world without tomatoes or chilies?

Salsa. Moles. Pico de gallo. Ketchup. Chiles rellenos. Picadillo. All of these iconic Latin American dishes would be in danger of going extinct along with the bumblebee – because what’s a mole without the rich, complex flavors of dried chilies?

Several groups are already working hard to help fund programs that would work to conserve the dwindling bumblebee populations. While others are working out solutions that could perhaps allow tomatoes and chilies to self-pollinate – much as other plants already do.

Using Social Media, Russia Is Accused Of Being Behind The Massive Protests Across Latin America

Things That Matter

Using Social Media, Russia Is Accused Of Being Behind The Massive Protests Across Latin America

Marcelo Hernandez

For months now, Latin America has been facing a political crisis as country after country has seen massive populist protest movements that have destabilized the region. From Chile to Puerto Rico, Bolivia to Ecuador, governments have struggled to respond to growing inequality – which has forced millions of Latinos to take to the street.

Many of these protest movements lack obvious leadership but they do share a few common threads. For one, they want to see more government accountability and actions against corruption. They also share a desire to fight growing income inequality which has stifled economic development for the region’s most vulnerable populations.

Now, a new report has tied many of these massive protest movements to Russian bots – which are seen as instigating and magnifying the region’s unrest.

The US has reportedly tied Russian bots to increased protest movements across Latin America.

Although the protest movements across Latin America share a few common threads, the majority of them are overwhelmingly different. In Chile, protests started over a planned increase in public transport fares. In Bolivia, it was against alleged voter fraud by then-President Evo Morales. In Puerto Rico, it was to fight back against alleged corruption and to hold leaders accountable for homophobic and misogynistic texts.

According to the US State Department, however, they’ve identified one theme they all seem to have in common: Russian interference.

In Chile, nearly 10 percent of all tweets supporting protests in late October originated with Twitter accounts that had a high certainty of being linked to Russia. While in Bolivia, tweets associated with Russian-backed accounts spiked to more than 1,000 per day – up from fewer than five.

And in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Chile over one 30-day period, Russia-linked accounts posted strikingly similar messages within 90 minutes of one another.

Senior diplomats from the US believe that Russia’s goal may be to increase dissent in countries that don’t support Maduro’s presidency in Venezuela.

Russia’s alleged campaign to help tap support for Maduro’s regime has resulted in mixed reviews. It’s not obvious how successful the campaign has been.

With the support of more than 50 other countries, the Trump administration has imposed bruising economic sanctions against Mr. Maduro’s government in Venezuela over the last year. The coalition is backing Juan Guaidó, the leader of the Venezuelan opposition, whom most of Latin America and the rest of the West views as the country’s legitimate president.

Russia is working to expand its presence in Latin America, largely at Washington’s expense.

The US State Department frequently keeps tabs on Twitter traffic worldwide to monitor for potentially dangerous activities, like the proliferation of fake pages and user accounts or content that targets the public with divisive messages

“We are noting a thumb on the scales,” said Kevin O’Reilly, the deputy assistant secretary of state overseeing issues in the Western Hemisphere. “It has made the normal dispute resolutions of a democratic society more contentious and more difficult.”

Souring attitudes toward the United States throughout the region over trade and immigration issues, the rise of populist candidates, and the deepening internal economic and social challenges facing many Latin American countries create favorable circumstances for Russia to advance its interests.

About a decade ago, it became obvious that Russia was launching an online campaign to destabilize the region using new technology and social media.

There are Spanish-language arms of two Russian-backed news organizations that have been found to spread disinformation, conspiracy theories and, in some cases, obvious lies to undermine liberal democratic governments.

According to one state-financed group, RT Español, they’ve reached 18 million people each week across ten Latin American counties and have more than a billion views on YouTube. This is huge liability for the truth.